So here it is, my top albums of the (last) year. 2018 was a great year for the music industry with pop music hitting the road with all 4 wheels and punk making a huge comeback, probably due to the incredibly dire state of the world.
10. Let's Eat Grandma - I'm All Ears
This album didn't actually make the top 10 until I listened to it a few days ago and really appreciated it for the work of art that it is. One of the most under appreciated albums of the year, how it wasn't up for the Mercury Prize baffles me. The 2 women from Norwich have made one of the greatest explorations of love, the mind and life and that's not even taking into account the lyrics, I wish I'd had my epiphany sooner. Also, if you get chance go and see them live, it really is a spectacle!
9. The Magic Gang - S/T
I got into The Magic Gang quite late really, but I'm really glad I did because their indie-rock mixed with some American surf-rock vibes is just as great as it sounds. And whilst they aren't producing party bangers this album contains some of the catchiest tunes I've heard all year with tracks such as "All This Way" and "Oh Saki" being personal highlights alongside the fantastic "Jasmine". There's not a single bad song on this album!
8. The 1975 - A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships
It's not quite what they hyped it up to be is it? I'm sure if you spoke to Matt Healy he'd tell you this is the most important album of the last decade, but in reality it's just a slightly experimental pop album with some career defining bangers. Songs such as "Love It If We Made It" and "Give Yourself A Try" have some of the most innovative, jaw-droppingly great production I've ever heard along with Matt Healy using his charisma to good use. But there's some filler here which kills the album... this really could have been number 1...
7. The Blinders - Columbia
Oh Blinders. I was hoping this album this album would sit higher up my list but 8th isn't shabby at all. Whilst we'd heard the bulk of the album in singles released prior I still think there's a lot more juiciness in the album and potentially a few more singles. And whilst Blinders are perfect in their post-punk-face-painted glory it's the last track "Salmon of Alaska" that really captivated me and made this album feel like it was special in so many ways, and fine tuning the album into a concept album of sorts was a genius move!
6. Boy Azooga - 1, 2, Kung-Fu
I've been following Boy Azooga for what feels like an eternity now but in fact it's only been just over a year and in that time they've gone from making it impossible to find their music online to a debut album and sold out shows up and down the country. And there's a reason for this, it's because their music is pure bliss. Tracks such as "Breakfast Epiphany" and "Waitin" only whet your appetite for huge stormers "Face Behind Her Cigarette" and "Loner Boogie", this album is a mind trip across a full soundscape. And if you get chance go and see them live because they truly are brilliant!
5. Christine & The Queens - Chris
I can't say I was the biggest of Chaleur Humaine, I felt like it kept slowing the pace down for no reason. So when "Doesn't Matter" was released my interest was reignited and this ended up being one of my most anticipated releases of the year. It far exceeded my expectation with an hour of what can only be described as a pop extravaganza that explored issues with love, identity and loss whilst maintaining a theme throughout.
4. Slaves - Acts of Fear and Love
Slaves make your favourite band look boring. Slaves are the single greatest double act of all time and I'm not going to debate that with anyone because it's fact. Now on their third album there's a deeper sense of maturity amongst the duo from Kent and a greater knack for creating more meaningful and thoughtful songs. "Photo Opportunity" could possibly be the most beautiful and yet sparse song of the year, with a constant wait running through the song waiting for it to kick in and whilst it does get heavier Laurie and Isaac hold back on this one and instead unleash their all into tracks like "Bugs" and "The Lives They Wish They Had". A much more refined and musically superior album from Slaves. They even created their own dance for christs sake, it's like the other bands aren't even trying.
3. IDLES - Joy As An Act Of Resistance
IDLES are undoubtedly one of the most important bands of our generation, their fist album was good but this is bloody glorious. Throughout the course of it's tracklist "Joy As An Act of Resistance" deals with toxic masculinity, mental health and... men with perms. But in all seriousness I saw IDLES on their last tour and it was genuinely like witnessing a sermon, a sweaty one with lots of mosh pits though. A personal favourite is "Colossus" but I think that's just because I'm a sucker for a song that builds up and then crashes in itself and just goes mental.
2. Shame - Songs of Praise
Any other year and this would have been sitting pretty at numero uno, but it's going to have to settle for second. Post-punk has made a glorious comeback in the last few years and us listeners are reaping the rewards, with Shame we get one of the most energetic, charismatic and talented bands I've ever witnessed. Songs of Praise contains in it a group of songs to go mental and punch each other to, with tracks such as "Tasteless" and "One Rizla" being the most accessible amongst the track list but the band really come into their own on tracks such as "Angie" and "Concrete". This is as beautiful and rough as post-punk can get and I'm living for it.
1. Our Girl - Stranger Today
And here it is, my album of the year. Ultimately, this is one of the greatest albums I've ever heard. Soph Nathan's guitar playing is awe inspiring to say the least on songs such as "Two Life" and "Boring" and the driving bass of Josh Tyler pushes the songs forward to surround them in such a way that is truly unmatched. And all of this is captivated with the drumming of Lauren Wilson who also shines on "Two Life" (Which you can probably tell is my favourite song on the album). This album just makes me want to jump around with it's grunge-like guitars at times and Soph Nathan's incredibly melodic and yet, at times, heavy vocals. The fact that this is only their debut album blows my mind.